Toronto to the Polls: The (second) Week in Review
A week by week election crib-note.
Perhaps it's the length of the campaign, but it seems to be that thus far the election has been like a five way boxing match - it's been kept more-or-less clean, but the parties have all come out fighting. The second week brought both a convergence of campaigns - most notably in health-care - but also a growing distinction of philosophies - as exemplified by child-care.
And the award for political blunder of the week surely goes to Paul Martin for his Handgun Non-Ban.
When Jack Layton announced that private health clinics were a reality the NDP would have to accept, all difference in the health-care debate seemed to risk disappearing. The argument now is not of type, but rather simply of degree. With all major parties resigned to the intrusion of private care into Canadian life (and with Martin looking to allow the Quebec Liberals to further their private-care plans) don't expect much substance on this issue for this election, but do expect it to be packed into mud-balls near the end of the campaign, perfect for slinging.
Where policy differences really came to the fore however, was in the field of child-care. Both the Liberals and the Tories want to improve the situation for families, but they are choosing to go about it in very different ways. While the Grits are setting up a plan that would cater to dual-income families working 9-5 jobs (a reality that is becoming more and more rare in today's world), Harper and his Conservatives are structuring it around personal choice, and allowing a parent to stay at home and still recieve benefit if they need child-care in the evenings or weekends. I will not reduce myself to demonising either party - they are clearly both trying to help Canadian families - but this issue is certainly one to watch, as it will certainly prove a wedge in the long-term.
The Hangun Non-Ban is clearly the blunder of the week. It bans all registered handguns - unless you are amongst the majority of handgun owners, and belong to a target shooting club; or you are a collector and decide to join a target shooting club; or you didn't register your handgun. To make matters worse, Martin has stated that it will be at the discretion of each province to participate in the ban. Fundamentally then, this comes down to the PM asking the provinces to voluntarilly take action - and not much action at that.
And that's the election week that was. Just six more to go!
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